The surge in Omicron cases has greatly affected Australia’s health system, logistics, agricultural and retail sectors due to staff shortages in the workplace. Until recently, all employees who have tested positive to COVID-19 must self-isolate at home, meaning businesses across Australia are dealing with unprecedented disruptions to their workforce. In an attempt to alleviate pressure on supply chains, health care, childcare and education, the New South Wales Government has provided exemption from self-isolation requirements for workers in critical sectors.
In a further effort to combat this rising issue, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on 19 January 2022 a $55 million visa package to lure international students and workers back to Australia. The rebate program will allow up to 150,000 international students and 23,500 backpackers with existing visas who have not yet travelled to Australia, to receive a rebate on their visa application charge, upon arrival in Australia. The $630 rebate is available for international students who arrive in the next 8 weeks and the $495 rebate is available for backpackers who arrive in the next 12 weeks
The rebate is in addition to other measures introduced by the Australian Government, such as lifting working restrictions for student visa holders, and allowing fully vaccinated international students to be amongst the first group of travellers allowed back into Australia, to encourage students and backpackers back to our shores.
If you require assistance with an Australian visa, please contact our Employment & Migration Team.